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Vivia has guile. Using only the power of her mind, she can make water boil, heal the sick, create illusions, and even transform herself into a bird or a pirate. But guilish folk are considered witches by most people, and that frightens them.
Her first teacher taught her healing arts, and after that she studied with Taso Raym, the most powerful male witch in the land. He taught her many things, and not just guilish skills. Unfortunately, neither Vivia nor Raym could ignore their attraction to each other, and intimacy between them would have meant the end of her guile. So she joined Ladygate, an all-female community, and accepted that love was not for her.
After a while, though, she realizes Ladygate is not where she belongs either. So she accepts the task of investigating the disappearance of a lord's son, kidnapped, it seems, by the malevolent witch Orath. Her guilish training is not quite complete, and she hopes Raym can help her.
But Raym has also disappeared. Vivia is on her own, with a task to do—one that now touches her heart. She's almost sure she has the necessary strength and skill…
…Unless Raym and Orath are in league with each other.
Meeting challenges head on, Vivia learns from her mistakes. Her guile grows with each success, as she follows a convoluted, hazy trail to the sea and, beyond, to the lair of Orath and her tyrannical consort, the Red Prince. There she finds Raym, captive and enthralled by a guile stronger and more deadly than she ever imagined. Planning carefully, she prepares herself for a confrontation she must believe she will win…